I am not into censorship, and I'm not going to take down a comment unless...
- it is a nasty ad hominem attack on another commenter, me, or someone else;
- it contains excessive profanity (the occasional curse is okay among adults, but these words have more power when used infrequently);
- it is racist, sexist, or discriminatory in some other way (sometimes I will leave comments like this up and let your own words condemn you);
- or it is spam.
Every now and again, things get heated around here. I respect your right to a strong opinion, and I hope you will respect others' right to disagree with you. That said, here are some guidelines that will help keep disagreement civil and focused on the issues.
1. Read the post and other comments carefully before responding. If you get really upset by a post or a comment, read it a second time to make sure you're not imagining things that aren't actually there, and to make sure you can respond clearly and thoughtfully.
2. Agree and disagree with ideas, not people. Don't attack, don't belittle, don't mock.
3. When possible, provide evidence to back up your opinion. This can take the form of a link to another website, a personal anecdote, a reference to something you read or experienced off the internet. It doesn't have to be formal, but it will strengthen your case immeasurably.
4. As a blogger who writes anonymously, I understand the need for anonymity. Nevertheless, I encourage you to create a Blogger identity and use it when you post. This helps keep everyone accountable for their words and opinions, and it also makes it possible for commenters to "get to know each other" or at least, to become familiar with each other's perspectives.
5. Avoid generalizations. Just because one person posts a particular opinion does not mean that everyone in the same category as that person feels the same way or behaves the same way. Avoid statements beginning with "All liberals...," "All conservatives...," "All union members...," "All teachers...," "All administrators...," etc.
6. My comments are not the place to promote your own blog, website, or product. One way to build an audience for your blog is to read other blogs and leave cogent comments in response to the posts. When you sign in to comment, you are asked to provide your URL, so it will show up with your comment. If you have interesting things to say, people will be curious and will follow the link to your blog. Saying, "Please visit my blog, it's really awesome," kind of rubs me the wrong way.
Thanks so much, and I hope you don't take this as discouragement from commenting - I like to read what you have to say!